Review by mr bob246

"Pokemon snap meets Silent Hill"

When I first walked into my local Hollywood Video with my best friend we were looking to rent State of Emergency. When we saw it wasn't there he pointed out Fatal Frame and suggested renting that.

At first I wasn't very interested. You use a camera to kill ghosts? And its only rated Teen? Its got to be cheesy.

Well we rented and took it home and I was scared out of my mind.

Unlike most Survival Horror games made in Japan, this one actually takes place there! The game has an unsettling atmosphere and a very creepy story line that'll have you searching not for ghosts, but for diary scraps and notes left by ''victims''.

Graphics: 10/10
Although the main characters look a little on the anime-ish side, the ghosts, backgrounds, and other aspects of the game are very detailed and well done. The ghosts are very gruesome and realistic adding an extra amount of fear to the game.

Sound: 9/10
Moans, Screams, and strange low-pitched mumbling are among some of the things you'll hear constantly throughout the game. The game music itself is scary but I've found at some parts it gets a little cliche. ( In one room the music plays a sort of ''Psycho'' sounding violin strain. I didn't find it very scary. )

Playability: 6/10
Its easy to learn how to use the camera, but just walking around can be a pain. Miku (The main character) is VERY slow. I could probably run faster than her with a broken ankle. If she were really scared (like the vibrating heartbeat in the controller tells us ) she would run faster.
Also, once you're on stairs you better hurry. I missed a few chances to snag rare ghosts on film because I was walking up a small flight of stairs.

Storyline: 9/10
Eerie... It revolves around kidnappings, strange Shinto rituals, Miku's family matters, and evil. The only thing I don't like is not knowing how it is based on a true story. I know the company plans on revealing such information in the future... but I would have really liked to know while I was playing.

Replay value: 8/10
After beating the game you can gather more points to unlock secret camera functions, go back and find all 108 ghosts, or replay the game in Nightmare mode so you can get a different ending. A battle mode also opens after beating the game.

Fear Factor: 10/10
Okay, so I scare easily ( I was afraid of the Shadow demons in ICO for crying out loud )... big deal. This game is VERY scary. The person I played it with ( who is totally unafraid of Resident Evil and can play Silent Hill alone at night ) was also creeped out by this game. I say if you're a survival horror fan give this game a go. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/16/02, Updated 03/16/02

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